It is good to mourn our sins in confession, regretting the pain we have caused others and ourselves. It is right to have a healthy desire to be taught by God—to have the discipline of a loving father. Yet, in our weakness God shows forth his glory in the love and forgiveness we have in Christ Jesus who paid the penalty of our sins by his death on the cross, and “we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Cor. 4:7).
Although we may not be acutely aware of every sin, our conscience testifies to our sense of weakness and failure. In particular, our memories remind us of times in our lives when we may have sinned miserably—angry tempers, selfishness, divorce, harshness, neglect of children or parents, and pride are just a few transgressions we may have committed.
We recognize how the trials we have brought upon ourselves have originated in our own sin. Yet the Lord uses them to train us, to discipline us. The author of Hebrews declares:
And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? (Heb. 12:5-7)
- The Discipline of a Loving Father
It is good to self-examine and learn from our failures. Yet, perhaps more important than lessons learned is the question: how is God glorified in this? Is it possible that even in our self-inflicted trials—when we are acutely aware of our fallen, sinful nature—the glory of God is manifested by his work in and for us? Absolutely.
- We Are Weak and Dusty Creatures
- God’s Love and Forgiveness in Christ Jesus